For you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you heard it until now – Phil 1:5
Paul loved the Philippi Church, and they were eager to help him. The Apostle was ever more grateful to the Church for its generous support of his Ministry because no other Church came forward to help him.
The Church at Philippi offers exciting new ways for partnership in the Gospel
The Church at Philippi offers us many insights into how to develop fruitful partnerships with those who are actively engaged in Mission.
Giving as an act of worship
The Church in Philippi supported Paul’s ministry through prayers and financial contributions. Paul had received financial assistance twice before (Phil 4:15 -18). The Church also sent a gift after learning of Paul’s confinement in Rome. (Phil 4:18).
Christian giving is an act of worship
Christian giving is an act of worship. Interestingly, Paul recognises the Church’s gift as “a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God” (Phil. 4:18). Paul’s choice of words here is reminiscent of God’s response to Noah (Gen. 8:21).
The Church at Philippi gave generously, but more importantly, they gave consistently. They helped him when Paul left Macedonia. They provided for Paul’s needs in Thessalonica. They also sent Epaphroditus to attend to Paul while he was imprisoned in Rome.
Support for Paul featured consistently in the Church’s list.
The Church was eager to help and looked for opportunities to support Paul. Support for Paul featured consistently in the Church’s list. The Epistle to the Philippians is also a thank-you note for the generous gift sent with Epaphroditus.
The Church at Philippi took timely action to respond to Paul’s immediate needs ( Acts 18:5; 2 Cor. 11: 7 – 10; Phil 4: 15 – 16). The Church came forward to help when Paul was in dire need as he left Macedonia. Their generous giving had a beneficial impact. The Church’s timely action was a simply a beautiful display of support.
The Church’s support for Paul’s work was a counter-trend. When Paul left Macedonia, no church came forward to support him (Phil 4:15). However, the Church at Philippi supported Paul’s ongoing missionary work (Phil 4:15b).
Well-established local Churches – wealthy or otherwise – must partner with younger Churches or frontier Missions.
It is interesting to note that this Church could see further than others. They had the grace to know the value of Paul’s work and eagerly supported him. Paul’s tone of an immense sense of gratitude (Phil. 4:14) to the Philippians reveals the magnitude of its significance for his Gospel work.
Like the Church at Philippi, we are called to support creative, innovative and path-breaking Mission initiatives. Well-established local Churches – wealthy or otherwise – must partner with younger Churches or frontier Missions. As we look ahead, the Church at Philippi offers exciting new ways for partnership in the Gospel.
Reflect to experience your Aha Moments 1. Do I give generously, knowing that my giving is a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God? 2. We may give to the Church. But how much do I give to support innovative Mission initiatives? 3. What efforts do I take as a Church to become partners in the Gospel and support Missions? Is frontier Missions on my support list?